Efficient Methods (Radial Arm Saw Tenons)

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Blog entry by Blake posted 10-18-2008 11:01 PM 8232 reads 1 time favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is a video about an easy way to make Tenons on a Radial Arm Saw. This is part of my “Opposing Arch Table” that I am currently working on. (Its 7.5 minutes long) Enjoy!

-- Happy woodworking!

16 comments so far

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3782 days

#1 posted 10-18-2008 11:23 PM

Hey Blake,

Nice video. I have been making Tenons like that for years. It’s a little faster with a Dado Head though. That is one of the things that a RAS has over a miter Saw (keeping the blade above the table)

Here is where I blogged the method a few years ago. The only real difference is that I cut the mortice first and use it to establish the blade hight. I have since purchased a nice Dado head that I use in place of the rip blade in the blog. That way only a couple of passes are needed.

-- Scott - Chico California

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3841 days

#2 posted 10-19-2008 12:06 AM

I also cut the mortise first and used it to establish blade height. The only reason I don’t use a dado is because of the set-up time of switching blades. The trade off is not really worth it for 8 tenons. Also, my 8.5” DeWalt RAS is a little underpowered for a dado blade.

-- Happy woodworking!

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3782 days

#3 posted 10-19-2008 12:28 AM

Now that I think about it I think I stole the idea from Norm ;)


-- Scott - Chico California

View DocK16's profile


1184 posts in 4054 days

#4 posted 10-19-2008 12:38 AM

Great Video, including that distinctive green flake rebuilt DeBlake RAS. This is a very effective technique but I find unless you use a flat bottom blade the tennons can still be left a little rough, but as you stated you can always clean them up with a good shoulder plane.

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3640 days

#5 posted 10-19-2008 02:37 AM

Great video, Blake.

View jaxx's profile


66 posts in 3484 days

#6 posted 10-19-2008 04:26 PM

very good info, how do you now cut the short side of the tenons ?



View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3841 days

#7 posted 10-19-2008 06:26 PM

Check out my Opposing Arch Table Blog for the answer to that question.

-- Happy woodworking!

View hokieman's profile


183 posts in 3721 days

#8 posted 10-19-2008 09:18 PM

Good post. I have always thought that the RAS is the most underratted tool in the shop. This is the way Icut my tenons only I use a stacked dado set. I have never cut tenons quite like Blake by sliding the stock sideways into the blade as I would have inherently thought it wasn’t the safest way go to. It takes no time at all to set up the dado since you don’t care about the width of cut since the stop block is what sets the length of the tenon. To answer jaxx’s question, I still use the stacked dado only I use a modified, taller RAS fence and set the stock on it’s side and float the dado set up higher and cut it the same on the side. It workd great. I do sometimes have to use my Lie Nielsen rabbet block plane to smooth and fine tune the tenon to fit the mortise.

The RAS can do way more than cross cut!

View Mike Shea's profile

Mike Shea

152 posts in 3961 days

#9 posted 10-20-2008 04:57 AM

great video blake. i love the dimming lights effect when you turn the tool on. hahaha my shop does that to. thats called to many tools and not enough wall plugs. and as for what “hokieman says about never cuting tennons by sliding the stock sideways into the blade… there is nothing unsafe about that. i do the verry same thing on the radial and even the table saw. i normaly use a dado but sometimes do the verry same thing. great video

-- i can do all things through christ who strengthens me

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3841 days

#10 posted 10-20-2008 06:26 AM

I was wondering when someone would notice the lights!

-- Happy woodworking!

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 3670 days

#11 posted 10-20-2008 01:08 PM

Great video Blake!


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View Mario's profile


902 posts in 4018 days

#12 posted 10-22-2008 06:32 PM

Thanks for showing this, I will have to try it. It sounds like a better way to do it.

-- Hope Never fails

View pinkiewerewolf's profile


42 posts in 3692 days

#13 posted 01-15-2009 04:32 AM

Great video tip blake!

-- John, Nor-Cal,

View dusty2's profile


323 posts in 3396 days

#14 posted 01-15-2009 12:58 PM

I don’t see anything wrong with doing tenons this way but I would have to watch it in action to say that it should be done this way “for the sake of efficiency”.

Maybe it takes a lot longer to set up a RAS than I think it does.

Thanks for the video Blake even if I don’t change how I do tenons.

-- Making Sawdust Safely

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3841 days

#15 posted 01-15-2009 07:01 PM

Actually it takes a lot less time to set up a RAS. All you do is set the height and stop block.

-- Happy woodworking!

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